Lectionary Reading Introduction

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading - so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different - often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways. This is an experimental venture and I will see how useful it appears.

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18

The origin of this book is disputed. Was he one of the first group deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC, or was he one of the teachers of the Law in the days of the great persecution at the time of the Maccabees (about 165 BC)? The practice of putting words in the mouth of significant dead people may seem unusual to us - dishonest even - but that surprise highlights the distance our culture is from theirs. In any event, we read it today not primarily to improve our our ancient historical knowledge, but to hear what the Spirit is saying to us today.

Ephesians 1:11-23

Some say that this letter was not written by Paul, others that this is a Pauline circular letter and we have the one written to Ephesus - sort of ancient word processing. This is a letter from prison written to one of the great cities of what is now Turkey.

Luke 6:20-31

This is Luke's version of blessings and woes - generally better known to us in Matthew's sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes. Luke, in this case, has Jesus located on a plain. The more radical expressions ("poor", not just "poor in spirit") give many the impression that these words are closer to the historical radical teachings of Jesus.

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